Exercise is important for everyone. It is important for you even if you are a child, women, men or an old age person. If you are an arthritis patient then exercise is much more beneficial in your case. If you are arthritis patient then joint-friendly exercises can improve your arthritis pain, mood, function and quality of life. Joint-friendly exercises put low-impact that means they carry less risk of injury and put less stress on the body. Some of the joint-friendly activities are biking and swimming. Moreover being physically active can delay the onset of arthritis-related disabilities and can also help the patients of arthritis to manage other chronic conditions as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. You can stay as active as your health allows and you can change your activity level as per your arthritis symptoms.
To enjoy the benefits of physical activity safely you should follow the following:
- Start slow:
While starting or increasing physical activity you should start slow and must pay attention on the tolerance of your body. Patients of arthritis can take more time to adjust with a new level of activity. If you are not much active then start with a small amount of activity, for instance, 3 to 5 minutes twice a day.
- Modify your activity when arthritis symptoms increase:
You may have god days and bad days as your arthritis symptom may come and go. You should try to modify your activity to remain as active as possible without worsening any symptoms.
- Your activities should be joint friendly:
You must choose those activities which are easy on the joints as walking, water aerobics, bicycling, or dancing. Such activities have a low risk of injury.
- Recognize safe ways and places to be active:
To plan and direct your own activity you must find safe places. For example, for walking choose an area where the pathways or sidewalks are leveled and are well lighted, free of obstructions, and are away from heavy traffic.
- Talk to a health professional:
Take the help of certified exercise professionals and health care professionals to get the answers of your questions about the activities that match your abilities.
Following are the activities that an arthritis patient can do:
- Low-impact aerobic activities: These activities do not put stress on the joints. They include cycling, brisk walking, swimming, water aerobics, dancing, light gardening, and group exercise classes.
- Muscle-strengthening exercises: They include yoga, lifting weights, and working with resistance bands. They can be done at home, at a fitness center and in an exercise class.
- Flexibility exercises: Physical activities as yoga and stretching are important for the patients of arthritis. Doing daily flexibility exercises enhance the range of motion therefore you are able to do daily tasks easily.
- Balance exercises: For the patients of arthritis who face difficulty walking or who are at the risk of falling can choose activities as standing on one foot, walking backwards, and tai chi for improving their condition.
It is normal to have some pain, swelling and stiffness after starting a physical activity program. It may take around 6 to 8 weeks to get used to it. However remain stick with your activity program will lead to long-term pain relief. You should follow the following to manage pain during and after physical activity so that you are able to keep exercising:
- Until the improvement in pain modify your physical activity program by reducing the frequency of exercising or exercising for shorter periods of time.
- You can try a different type of exercise which puts less pressure on the joints as switching from walking to water aerobics.
- You should do warm-up before and cool-down after exercise.
- You should exercise at a relaxed pace.
- You must have comfortable, good fitting shoes.
An arthritis patient can maintain the mobility of joints and flexibility by doing and appropriate exercise with proper techniques. Proper technique will help him or her to prevent pain due to exercise and fatigue. Thus you must always choose doing exercises which are appropriate for your joint health by following techniques that prevent any further damage or pain.